We had the good fortune of connecting with AJ Sales Maralit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi AJ, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When COVID first hit, like a lot of people our age, we hopped on to TikTok. Fast forward to the beginning of 2021, we came across a video by @picnicnchill, a bay area based luxury picnic company. My partner Jaimee and I both thought, “we could totally do that!”
We both had a lot of dreams for the new year, including quitting our toxic workplace. We worked together for about 2-3 years in the same department. We knew we would work great together, and a picnic business included all the things we love – decor, design, thrifting, and just hanging out. We both put in $300 each and thought “The worst thing that could happen is that we’d be stuck with all this cute stuff.”
We never thought Picnic Point AZ would pick up as quick as it did but we sold out our Valentine’s Day Picnics within the first 2 weeks of opening.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Picnic Point AZ, we really pride ourselves on community over competition. When we first started Picnic Point in January, we checked out the competition and there were three other companies we came across.
3 months later there were over 15. It was nuts.
We thought that they were our competition and that we always had to one up everyone. One day we were setting up at Papago Park and we were approached by another girl setting up her picnic. Her name was Ally with @moorethanapicnic. She was the sweetest and we kept in touch by cheering each other on through DMs.
A few months later, we also met Mari with @simplydesertco. She reached out to us on Instagram to grab coffee and we’ve been picnic besties ever since.
We’ve started a group chat for fellow picnic companies to connect and share tips and even pass on bookings when one of us is fully booked.
We all have such different styles and there is more than enough business for us all to flourish. While there are some picnic companies that haven’t been as friendly back, we appreciate and are so grateful for the ones that share our same values. After all, what do you do at picnics? Connect and appreciate the little things.
We also love showcasing local vendors and vloggers. Starting this business has introduced us to so many hardworking & inspiring entrepreneurs. It’s been so fun!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d start our day off with a picnic brunch at Tempe Town Lake! This has always been one of our favorite parks to set up at. The vibe in Tempe is just so cool. There’s always people roller skating or people playing instruments. It’s such a lively park perfect for a picnic. Not to mention the view of the bridge & lake is awesome- day or night! After the picnic, we could ride the boats on the lake.
After that, we’d ride birds around the park and then down Mill Ave! There’s so many cute shops, restaurants, and bars to explore. One of my go to’s has been Poke2U! My husband used to work there and it’s an affordable bite and their fun sushi rolls are sooo yummy! We highly recommend the Dynamite Crazy Boy Roll!
I feel like I’m still pretty new to AZ still and I know there’s so much to explore. Thankfully this business forces me out a lot! We just end up in Tempe most of the time so this has always been a go to if we have someone new assisting us on a picnic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this shout out to my favorite picnic partner, Jaimee. In mid-November, she let me know she wanted to focus on other projects.
If she hadn’t started this business with me, Picnic Point AZ wouldn’t have ever become a reality. I always have business ideas and plans that never actualize. They stay dreams or plans on a piece of paper. Her doing this with me, forced me to really persist and work hard. We simply didn’t want to let each other down.
I did a lot of the back end stuff, but Jaimee spent LOTS of late nights and early mornings DIY-ing the many things that make Picnic Point so special.
While I am sad she is no longer a part of Picnic Point, I know that we will stay friends and continue to support each other. I owe a lot of the success to her.
photo credit to @strybookluvphotography